Relatives' sorrow amid claims and doubts regarding China train crash

10:21, July 28, 2011      

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by Xinhua writers Ni Yuanjin, Kong Xiaohan and Zhang Yao

A single cell phone message held the last words that Yang Feng's pregnant wife ever said to him. Yang was busy on Saturday evening and did not reply to her, a fact which will haunt him for the rest of his life.

Yang's pregnant wife Chen Bi, together with Yang's in-laws, were on high-speed train D3115 Saturday evening, leaving the city of Shaoxing for Wenzhou.

Their train was rear-ended on a bridge late Saturday by high-speed train D301 near the city of Wenzhou in east China's Zhejiang Province. The accident left at least 39 people dead and 192 others injured.

Only Yang's father-in-law survived the collision.

"I bought first-class tickets in the 16th carriage for my pregnant wife and the family. I wanted them to feel comfortable on the train. I regret it so much," Yang sobbed.

After the accident, Yang went to Wenzhou to see the crash site for himself. After walking in deep rainwater and climbing two hills, Yang reached the bridge around 1 a.m. Sunday.

Yang saw all of his dead relatives' bodies except for that of his wife. He dug into the 16th carriage with his bare hands Sunday afternoon, but still failed to find her.

The 16th coach of D3115, where Yang's family sat, was the most seriously damaged. In the same carriage, two-year-old Xiang Weiyi was found just hours after authorities claimed that there were no signs of life remaining in the wreckage.

All of the bodies of the 39 victims were claimed by relatives as of Tuesday, although DNA tests to ascertain their true identities have yet to be completed, according to a Wenzhou city official.

Wang Yongping, spokesman with China's Ministry of Railways, delivered an apology and expressed condolences to the victims and bereaved families at a press conference Sunday night.

According to Wang, an initial investigation showed that train D3115 lost power and stalled after being struck by lightening. The train's black box recorder has been retrieved and the ministry is investigating the cause of the crash.

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